ORILLIA—Three Ontario Hells Angels bikers have been charged in a multi-million dollar offshore gambling enterprise that police say has links to mobsters in York Region.
The investigation originally also targeted Michael (Diaz) Deabaitua-Schulde, a Niagara Hells Angel who was murdered on March 11 after leaving a workout at a gym in a commercial plaza in Mississauga.
The complex gambling network was pulling in gross revenues of more than $131-million over a five-year span OPP Chief Supt. Paul Beesley said at a Thursday morning news conference. The network included the websites Ultimate SB, Titan SB, PlaytoWin WB, Privada SB and Players SB, Beesley said.
The gambling operation was linked to the Figliomeni Crime Family of York Region, some alleged members of which were charged in July by York Regional Police in a sweeping investigation called Project Sindicato, Beesley said.
The three full-patch Hells Angels who allegedly ran the off-shore operation are Robert Barletta, 49, a London, Ont. strip club owner; Craig (Truck) McIlquham, 49, of Oakville; and Eugenio (Gino) Reda, 55, of King City.
Barletta faces 11 charges, including illegal firearms possession, book making and commission of an offence for a criminal organization.
McIlquham was charged with a dozen offences, including possession of a restricted weapon, bookmaking and commission of an offence for a criminal organization.
Reda faces three bookmaking charges and another for commission of an offence for a criminal organization.
Also among 28 people charged in total was Richard Pereira, 35, of Oshawa, whom police said worked for the Ministry of Transportation. Pereira was charged with criminal breach of trust and unauthorized use of a computer.
Police seized 21 firearms, including nine illegal handguns, seven residences, two vacation properties and 18 vehicles, including three Harley Davidson motorcycles and two golf carts.
Deabaitua-Schulde, a married father of two, was a full-patch member of the Niagara charter of the Hells Angels. He was actively involved in debt collection around sports betting, multiple sources told The Star.
According to multiple sources, he had bumped up recently against Quebec criminals also involved in illegal gambling shortly before his murder.
Three Montreal men were charged with first-degree murder in Deabaitua-Schulde’s death and another Montreal man was been charged with complicity after the fact.
OPP Commissioner Thomas Carrique said on Thursday that the illegal gambling network placed individuals, society and the economy at risk.
“Police and partner agencies will continue to fully collaborate and aggressively target the ring leaders, their associates, and their lavish lifestyle to make our cities and towns safer,” Carrique said.
Stephane Bonin of the Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) said that all income is taxable — even proceeds of crime, and said that Barletta and McIlquham face tax evasion charges in addition to their gambling charges.
Get more of today’s top stories in your inbox
Sign up for the Star’s Morning Headlines email newsletter for a briefing of the day’s big news.
“The CRA is serious about disrupting organized crime,” Bonin said. “We’re not afraid to go after members of known organized crime groups.”
Charged with weapons offences, bookmaking and commission of an offence for a criminal organization are Michael Simonelli, 41, of Stoney Creek; and Raffaele Simonelli, 45, of Mississauga,
Charged with multiple weapons offences is Giovani Visconti, 58, of Scarborough.
Charged with bookmaking and commission of an offense for a criminal organization are: Giogio Campagna, 57, of Toronto; Nicholas Sachewsky, 33, of Etobicoke; Sean Samac, 36, of Etobicoke; Steve Clayton, 60, of Oakville; Atillio Montaleone, 42, of Oakville; Alessandro Ortolano, 49, of Woodbridge; Sam Parker, 49, of Milton; and Gordon Baird, 62, of London, Ont.; Giovanni Beltrano, 44, of Niagara-on-the-Lake; and Giuseppe DiMatteo, 62, of King City.
Charged with bookmaking, keeping a gaming house and commission of an offence for a criminal organization are Serafino Barone, 53, of Mississauga; John Daher, 42, of Oakville; Ralph Elammar, 42, of Mississauga; and Dimitris Kellesis, 60, of Mississauga; while Vito Sili, 37, of Vaughan, is charged with bookmaking and commission of an offence for a criminal organization.
Charged with bookmaking, commission of an offence for a criminal organization and possession of a restricted substance is David Caughers, 54, of Oka, Que.
Charged with possession of a restricted weapon, possession of property obtained by crime and participating in a criminal organization is Travis Gibson, 36, of Burlington.
Charged with possession of a restricted weapon, possession of property obtained by crime and participating in a criminal organization is Habiba Kajan, 43, of London.
Charged with possession of a restricted weapon, bookmaking, possession of property obtained by crime and commission of an offence for a criminal organization is Dejan Markovic, 38, of London.
Charged with possession of a restricted firearm and possession of property obtained by crime is Eweina Michalowszi, 34, of Burlington.
Charged with possession of a controlled substance for trafficking and possession of proceeds of crime is Philip Schroeder, 22, of Petersburg.
Other police agencies involved in the investigation include the RCMP, London Police Service, Niagara Regional Police, Halton Regional Police, Peel Regional Police, Toronto Police Service, York Regional Police, Waterloo Regional Police Service, Hamilton Police Service, Durham Regional Police Service, Sault Ste. Marie Police, Barrie Police, Canada Border Services Agency, Stratford Police Service, Woodstock Police Service, the Sûreté du Québec and FINTRAC, the Financial Transactions and Reports Analysis Centre of Canada.